The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum. The story chronicles the adventures of a young girl named Dorothy Gale in the Land of Oz, after being swept away from her Kansas farm home in a storm. It is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture and has been widely translated. Baum explores the theme of self-contradiction in The Wizard of Oz. He created characters who—like humans—have complex, contradictory natures. The Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion all lack self-confidence. The Scarecrow believes that he has no brains, though he comes up with clever solutions to several problems that they encounter on their journey. The Tin Woodman believes that he lacks a heart, but is moved to tears when misfortune befalls the various creatures they meet. The Cowardly Lion believes that he has no courage even though he is consistently brave through their journey. In the end of the characters attain self-fulfillment when they have met their objectives.
For many of us, the adventures of Dorothy in Oz will forever be associated not with Judy Garland singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" but with W. W. Denslow's exceedingly odd line drawings for the original editions of Baum's Oz series. The Viennese artist Lisbeth Zwerger, however, goes a long way toward providing a new and refreshed set of images for the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the humbug wizard. These illustrations are often cockeyed, with occasional realistic details thrown in, like a crow with a corncob in its beak in the first portrait of the Scarecrow. The characters have a poignance and oddity that escaped the makers of the Oz movie.